Calcium carbonate, commonly known as chalk or calcite is a non-combustible, non-toxic, odourless white powder with the formula CaCO3. It occurs naturally in the minerals aragonite, calcite, limestone and marble which makes up about 4% of the earths crust. Calcium carbonate is produced by the sedimentation of the shells of small fossilized eggs, skeletons, snails, shellfish, and coral over millions of years. Commercially the majority of calcium carbonate is produced from mining or quarrying and then grinding to different grades.
Calcium carbonate has an enormous range of applications and uses. These include usage in the construction and agriculture, as well as the plastics, glass, paint, paper, steel and oil industries.
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Properties of calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate reacts with strong acids to produce the salt of the acid and carbon dioxide gas. When heated above 825C it releases carbon dioxide leaving the calcium oxide, also known as quicklime. When calcium carbonate is dissolved in water saturated with carbon dioxide it produces a solution of calcium bicarbonate.
Uses For Calcium Carbonate
Calcium carbonate has a wealth of uses: as a flux in steel production and in processing of non-ferrous metals; in bricks, mortar and concrete for construction; as a raw material in glass; in the construction of roads and dams; in the manufacture of paper, paints and dyes, carpeting and other floor coverings; and in the treatment of water, industrial waste, gases and household refuse. It is also used to reduce soil acidity in agriculture.